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On running a Scholastic Book Fair

November 10, 2008

Coming up for air here.  I feel like the weeks have whizzed by.  After London, which was a great but exhausting trip, I helped coordinate the Scholastic book fair at Girl’s school.  This is a wonderful fund raiser for our school, but one that could not run without the help of many dedicated volunteers.  I also learned a few things along the way.

1. If you are going to get involved in something, be it at your kid’s school, in your town, or on a larger scale, make sure it’s something you really believe in.  We have many different fundraisers at school, from wrapping paper, to spirit wear, and the like.  But I love books, and I love helping kids discover new books.  I cannot imagine I would put as much of my free time, or even take days off of work, for anything else.  Having a passion for something means you will put the time into it to make it successful.

2. You need help!  I had 2 co-chairs working with me, but even then, we needed about 40 other people to staff the fair during the hours it was open.  We also had a separate team running our Family Event Night with their own group of volunteers.  You can never have too many.  Don’t try and take on too much yourself, feel free to get others who share your same passion and want to help out to do so.

3. Engage the teachers.  I had a few teachers walking silently through the fair, not wanting to influence what the kids picked up.  Guess what?  Few people know these kids better than they do, save their parents, and even then…  They know what’s appropriate for them to read and they need to speak up and be listened too.  Girl’s former Second Grade teacher was heard telling a kid “this was a book fair, not a pen fair, so go buy a book!”  Love that.

4. Engage the parents – I wish I could tell every parent how much the book fair means to these kids.  When they forget to send them with money, or send them with $2 because “every book costs a dollar”, which isn’t true, it breaks their heart (and mine!).  They want to go with their peers and pick out a new book.  If you’re going to send them with money, have an idea about what the average book cost is.  We’re going to write that in a parent letter next year.  If you’re only having them browse during the fair because you’re coming back in the evening, make sure they understand they can put aside a book for you to pick up and pay for later.  It’s fine, we’re not going anywhere, but sometimes the books are, and you want to make sure they can get what they want.  Also, we put together a wish list of books that can be bought for the classroom.  You even get a nifty book plate where you can put your name as the book’s benefactor.  Teachers really appreciate this, as do the kids.  Make sure you have one and you promote it well.

Overall, we raised slightly less money than the fair did last year, which means in this economy, we did very well.  I probably won’t be as involved next year, as Girl will be moving up to a new school and Boy isn’t due there for a while, but I know I will want to come back to it.  Aching feet and bleeding eyeballs be dammed, I had a great time.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2008 9:58 am

    Thanks for volunteering! It was great, and Little Hoff really appreciated “Donuts with Dad”. A great idea.

  2. November 14, 2008 11:22 am

    Ellen,
    I failed to thank-you for all your volunteering. The book fair was wonderful. My little book worm went to each event, any opportunity to be among her friends and buy books is a “yes” in my book.
    I always say yes to books. Thanks for your help too!
    pve

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